Monthly Archives: September 2014

Zoned heating and cooling systems

Do you live where you heat? Most of us spend our time at home in a small number of rooms: the kitchen and living room, the bathroom and bedroom. But we also have closets and crawlspaces, guest rooms and garages. ask men Too often, we pay to heat and cool rooms we don’t live in. Zoned heating and cooling systems solve that problem.

digital thermostat

If your home only has one thermostat you’re probably heating and cooling empty rooms and wasting money. Zoned heating and cooling systems keep a convenient single control panel but add multiple zones for your living, sleeping, working, and cooking spaces.

You can control these zones independently, adjusting the temperatures to heat and cool the rooms you live in, the way you live in them. No more wasted energy on those empty rooms, and no more wasted money on your energy bills.

Is zoned heating and cooling the right choice for you? Get your home’s full energy assessment today: it’s fast and accurate and will give you actionable information to take the next step. Click here to use your assessment data and save even more time.

Want more ideas on how to save money on your home energy costs? Just sign up for our Home Energy Performance Newsletter. It’s full of the information and ideas you need to make your home less expensive to operate and more comfortable ā€“ and healthier ā€“ to live in.




Weatherization

What is weatherization?

Weatherization is the process of protecting your home and family from the elements. Weatherization takes place both inside and outside the home, and can also include projects in your yard. The goal of any weatherization project is to reduce convective heat transfer: the unwanted transfer of heat from one part of the home to another.

Heat loss in an average home

If you’ve ever caught a chill from being in a drafty room in the winter, you’ve experienced an unwanted convective heat transfer. The heat in the room is “escaping” and the air temperature is decreasing. In this case, you could put on a sweater. But a better decision is to address the room’s heat transfer with a weatherization project.

What does weatherization do?

An effective weatherization project will prevent convective heat transfer. The result should be a room with a stable and predictable air temperature. You and your family will notice the improvement right away, when your rooms are more comfortable in heating season and all year ’round.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy,

The benefits of weatherization begin with reducing the energy bills of recipients for a long period of time. Some measures, such as insulating walls or roofs, for example, can provide savings for the lifetime of a houseā€”30 years or more. Other measures, such as making heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10ā€“15 years. On average, the value of the weatherization improvements is 2.2 times greater than the cost. (“What is Weatherization?“)

That’s a healthy savings for anyone!

Do it yourself weatherization projects

There are several weatherization projects that anyone can complete with a few basic tools and the right materials.

Weatherization rebate and assistance programs

  • Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program provides grants to states, territories, and some Indian tribes to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. These governments, in turn, contract with local governments and nonprofit agencies to provide weatherization services to those in need using the latest technologies for home energy upgrades.
  • WAPTAC: Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center is a detailed reference site for Weatherization Assistance Program professionals and homeowners who want to find the technical information about their programs.
  • The National Association of State Energy Officials State and Territory Energy Offices map has state contact information for homeowners interested in finding weatherization resources and programs in their communities.
  • Utility companies and co-ops often have rebates or low-interest loans available for homeowners who want to use home performance contractors for a weatherization project. Check the inserts in your billing statement, or the utility’s website, for information about available weatherization and home energy efficiency rebates and programs.

Additional weatherization resources

  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a nonprofit organization that advocates for energy efficiency “to achieve greater economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection” for all Americans. Their residential energy resource portal includes information on home energy efficiency, weatherization, and the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings.
  • The Environmental Defense Fund develops policy and business models to improve energy efficiency, grow the economy, and help consumers save money on their home energy costs. Their energy efficiency resources page features studies of the benefits of weatherization, and includes a discussion of on-bill repayment programs for home improvement loans. These programs are becoming more common for homeowners who want to undertake weatherization projects but might not qualify for federal or state assistance.



Is your home ready for fall weather?

We know that you can’t predict the weather, but the change of seasons is just around the corner. With fall comes cooler temperatures, rain and wind, and extreme weather like hurricanes, tornadoes, and snow and ice storms. Fortunately, you can prepare your home and family for anything the season brings by taking a few simple steps this weekend. Here are our newest fall home weatherization tips:

A house in fall.

Fall weatherization of your home’s exterior

Got a drafty room? Over time, houses “settle” and gaps or cracks can appear between windows and doors, where materials and walls meet, or along your foundation where pipes or conduits enter the home. Check these areas of your home to prevent heat loss. If your exterior doors are weather stripped, check that the seal is tight and your strip and threshold are clean.

Moisture is your home’s enemy, especially in the winter when pipes can freeze and crack. Double check your water pipes and be sure to have your lawn sprinkler system flushed and turned off before the first frost.

If your home has rain gutters, now is the time to make sure they are clean and free of debris. You can also install a rain gutter guard in an afternoon, which will help keep leaves and debris out of your gutters.

Fall weatherization of your home’s interior

Check for air leakage around your window and door frames. If you can feel a draft, use transparent weather sealing tape to seal the gaps between the frame and wall.

Cozy fall fireplace

If you’re looking forward to curling up in front of a fire when the weather turns cool, be sure to hire a licensed chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney, flue, and fireplace.

Examine your HVAC system. It might be time to clean your filters, or replace them. . If your system is older, hire a certified HVAC professional to check it out and tune it up. Your professional technician can also help you identify inefficient or worn out parts of your system so you can get peak heating performance throughout the fall and winter.

Take care of your home’s weatherization needs before the fall weather hits, and you’ll keep your home comfortable for your family all season long.